Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to educate, inspire, challenge, and encourage city leaders. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.
This month, we caught up with Alan Platt, Founder of Doxa Deo, an organization committed to advancing gospel movement and establishing churches and educational institutions in South Africa primarily, though they have also established three churches internationally in the cities of London, Auckland, and Stuttgart. Alan has worked in ministry since 1983 and is a sought after speaker who also brings significant influence to the broader business and educational structures at large. Alan has also recently authored his first book titled ‘We Start At Finish’, which is fast becoming a life changing instrument for many ministries.
Q: You are the founder, Doxa Deo, a ministry that serves 30,000 people in over 12 different campuses as one integrated church in the city. Would you be willing to share a little bit about what led you to found Doxa Deo?
We had the privilege of leading a church out of a crisis situation, and in a short time it became a church with incredible momentum where many people were coming for the exciting program of excellent worship and good word. However, in 1994, we had a deep experience that challenged us to no longer be a ‘church for the church’ but rather a ‘church for the city’. It took us two years to figure out the strategy that we would want to implement, and thereafter we launched as Doxa Deo with a new vision to engage City, Society and Culture at large.
Q: How would you describe the current gospel landscape of South Africa?
Over the last 20 years we have seen incredible opportunity for the church to become relevant to society. As a new democracy was formed in South Africa, there were obvious challenges in the different spheres of South African society that became opportunities to engage with grace and truth. Right now there is great political instability, economic challenges, and renewed racial tensions in our country. Corruption and crime are at some of the highest rates ever in the history of our nation. This is an opportunity for the church as we can never ‘waste a good crisis’!
Q: What urban issues are the people of South Africa facing on a daily basis?
Urbanization is taking place at a rapid pace in the nation, and the infrastructure and unavailability of jobs is creating a challenging situation for our communities to contend with. We have an official unemployment rate of 25% though some would believe it is closer to 40% which is the percentage that young “school leavers” contend with in terms of being able to find work. There is also the challenge of illegal immigration which causes xenophobic outbursts as people are convinced the jobs are being taken from South African nationals by people that have arrived in our country by illegal means.
Q: Your role has extended beyond the ministry sphere to influence the business sector, education and society at large. Can you share about how you approach the work of gospel movement in these spheres of society?
We have worked for years on a very simple strategy which engages eight spheres of society at three different levels.
Mobilization – This aspect of the strategy involves the equipping and commissioning of our members who we refer to as ‘partners’ of the dream. They are equipped through our ministry and then commissioned to engage society in the spheres in which they function for most of their life. We also refer to these partners as “City Changers,” and celebrate what God is doing through them as it becomes an extension of our ministry.
Engagement – This aspect of the strategy involves the identification of a particular area in which we want to engage because we believe that we could make a distinct difference as a ministry in that particular sphere. Education is one example of a desired sphere of engagement in which we set up an office called TREE – Transforming Educational Environments. Currently, we are active in 90 schools with 60 full time youth workers deployed to engage those educational environments through this program in Pretoria.
Modeling – This aspect of the strategy involves the establishment of an institution that addresses the felt need within the community. An example of the implementation of this portion of the strategy is POPUP – The People Upliftment Program. This is a vocational skills training program that is currently working to equip people with 18 different skills in three different training bases in the city. The students in this program are also supported by a Medical, Dental and Eye Care Center, as well as provided with childcare support. This process has served more than 6,000 people, of which over 70% have been successfully placed into a permanent occupation. We also celebrate that over 70% of participants in this program make a commitment to Jesus Christ during the course of their training.
Q: How can the broader Movement Day community support those working to bring about gospel movement in South Africa and your partner cities in the UK, New Zealand, and Germany?
When more people become aware of our work, God stirs their hearts to consider partnership, which can happen at various levels, supporting us to make greater impact in the different areas where we are involved. We have had various short-term teams coming to serve from different areas of the globe, which is a blessing. We are always grateful when institutions, ministries or foundations choose to invest financially to empower us to do what we are doing.
Q: What are you most looking forward to for Movement Day Global Cities 2016?
There is a global move of God bringing the church together for greater strategic collaboration, which will definitely lead to greater Kingdom impact. I do believe that the global Movement Day is one of the key catalytic moments that God will use to stir and galvanize this unified engagement of his people worldwide.
Q: What do you hope to share with leaders at Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) this fall?
We have seen some amazing initiatives for unity and kingdom engagement in various cities across the globe. However, many of them are driven by parachurch organizations and the church has not come to engage as I believe it could. My contribution – as someone who has seen God facilitate unity and city transformation through the local church – would be to stir up pastors and leaders of local churches with a challenge to become more relevant to their communities at this very important time in world history. We will be sharing a strategy that would not result in the establishment of yet another program in the church, but rather stimulate a culture that releases the people of the church to be transformational agents in their communities!